Monday, January 26, 2009

Deep Cleaning?

Visiting our local hospital the other day I saw a yellow sign on the main thoroughfare through to the wards "Warning. Deep Cleaning in Process". I could see no sign of any cleaning happening, deep or otherwise but I could see loads of people walking too and fro en route to and from the wards, restaurant, X-ray etc. It set me to wondering just what it meant and whether it does any good. I found that the Lancet had an article when the idea was first brought in which says:
"Brown also plans to double the number of hospital matrons, to check on ward cleaning and accost doctors wearing long sleeves. They would be better employed making sure doctors, nurses and visitors wash their hands properly, the proven way to stop hospital-acquired infections."
Strangely enough, my own non-scientific research supports this. Walking into the ward over the last 3 weeks and making sure that I wash my hands properly I've been passed on numerous occasions by medical staff ignoring this simple procedure. I've seen doctors go from one bed to another without washing hands. And unsurprisingly, I've seen someone go in with one infection and end up with a totally different and unrelated one.
I also had a nurse tell me that they're so busy covering their backs now they haven't time to do the things that really matter. That's what happens when politicians interfere in medicine, setting targets, telling people what they have to do today, instead of making sure that the basics are in place and being checked on regularly. No-one wants to go back to the stiff starched uniforms and hands red raw from scrubbing with carbolic soap but there's a half way house which is healthier than what we've got at present.

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